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AMD FX vs Phenom IIx4 vs i5 vs i7

Trying to figure out what CPU to use in my new gaming system that I'll be building. I see that everyone and their mom are using i7s, some i5s. But the i7 seems like it's a ridiculous over-investment and I don't see how most gamers would even need all that power.

My original choice was the Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition I believe, but then I heard the AMD FX were just plain better (I've been looking at this one specifically, seems like a lot of speed for the low price no?? http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819106009).

But everyone is using Intel??

I don't plan to play a whole lot of FPS games, I'll probably never touch crysis although I may play other cryengine games. Mostly this build is going to be for maxing out on Guild Wars 2 / WoW and being able to stream my gameplay up to twitch.tv, preferably at 720p+.

My intended GPU choice is this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814500196
So something that synergizes well with that would be practical.

I have plenty of upload speed (~4.0mb/sec), so I won't need like an i7 since I won't be setting x-split to any crazy high pre-upload compression settings... right??
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  1. Best answer
    OK, a couple things wrong here.

    First, most of us gamers (that have Intel CPU's, anyway) use i5's, not i7's, because you're right, i7's are mostly pointless for gaming. Especially when most games don't even utilize more than 2 or 3 cores (BF3 multiplayer is a notable exception). Also, HT can be problematic in some games. The speeds are basically equivalent, so all that an i7 adds is HT. Not at all worth it for a gamer.

    Second, The 965BE is a better gaming CPU than ANY of the FX CPU's. The FX CPU's aren't particularly good to begin with, but they really fail to deliver in gaming. The faster FX CPU's are ok for gaming, but I can't say that I would recommend one over the 965BE. Maybe when Piledriver is released...

    With that said, an i5 is the best overall choice, if you can afford it (especially for streaming), but a 965BE will get the job done on a budget.
  2. Ok, I figured it was just people wanting to throw their money around with the i5 vs i7 thing, but I had seen so much of it that I wasn't really sure. I mean most of the gamers I know with money were getting i7's and most of the twitch streams I pass by have i7s in their system specs postings.

    I'll look at the i5's, might have to save a little longer we'll see. I don't know a lot about the different bridges or architectures though (sandy vs ivy etc.).
  3. convectuoso said:
    I'll look at the i5's, might have to save a little longer we'll see. I don't know a lot about the different bridges or architectures though (sandy vs ivy etc.).


    Well, Ivy is the newest and ~5-7% faster at the same clocks, but Sandy OC's better and further.

    Some of the OC disparity is negated by the fact that Ivy is slightly faster, though. For instance, an Ivy 3570K @ 4.5 Ghz = a Sandy 2500K @ 4.8Ghz, but it's easier to get a 2500K to 4.8 than it is to get an 3570K to 4.5 (for temp reasons because Ivy runs extremely hot when you add a little voltage to OC).

    As far as streamers using i7's goes, I'm guessing that's just because they were probably told by someone (probably not here) that they needed it because HT would help for multitasking (and it does help, to an extent), but in reality, an i5 is more than enough.
  4. Best answer selected by Convectuoso.
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